Thursday, May 12, 2005

From the Space Tower

The champagne is still in the fridge, waiting for its early-morning corkpop.

But in other news, look west. Seattle got two auxiliaries this morning -- the place has only had three auxiliaries over the last thirty years (and Donald Wuerl almost doesn't count, given the circumstances of his mission), so it's an unexpected bishop-boon there. The archdiocese of Seattle is home to 904,000 Catholics. That's really stunning when one remembers that Denver only has 380K, 422K in San Fran, and the latter two are much more prominent -- as the past couple days have obviously shown.

Ergo, Seattle is the largest archdiocese no one's ever heard of. At least not recently. And Microsoft is not solely responsibile for that, thank you very much.

The amazing thing, given Rome's caution with naming bishops these days -- the docket is as backed-up as a sex-abuse tribunal, as it takes 18 months or more to get an auxiliary -- is the youth of these bishops-elect. Joseph Tyson is 47 and Eusebio Elizondo, a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, just turned 50. It's a sure vote of confidence in Alex Brunett, of that much we can be sure.

For a journo on the Catholic beat, Tyson is very good news. He apparently took his undergrad degree from U.Wash in Communications and a master's in International Studies. So he didn't enter seminary at 12, as they do in Burkeworld... That's a good thing -- puberty before cassocks, please....

Better still, Tyson wasn't ordained until he was 32, so he had some sense of the real, working world for a couple years. This has relevance because the average age at which most new priests are being ordained -- and, as it's ordination season, this is the perfect time to talk about it -- is in their early 30's to mid 40's, often even older. Guys go out, work, then find the daily grind of the office unfulfilling and end up in the sem. It's really interesting and, best of all, it gives priests an eye as never before into what their parishioners have to deal with in their daily lives -- more than ever, they've been there, too.

But the big story on this one is that today's appointments are the final coda of the long shadow of the Witchcraze of 1985-88, when Rome went bonkers on Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. Between sending in an American Inquisition, then naming Wuerl as auxiliary with special powers, then -- when Donald, through no fault of his own, went over like a lead balloon -- sending Tom Murphy as coadjutor, etc., it made for a heady experience.

However, with Brunett at the top, George Thomas (formerly Seattle's long-serving VG) now in Helena, and young auxiliary bishops, the extreme makeover is only completed today.

I guess they're thinking the less press they get up there, the better. But at least they've got a bishop who has the cred to handle it now. Here's to more of this to come.



Blogger Matthew Lickona said...

Matthew Lickona

13/5/05 00:44  

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